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SEMA guide to racking inspection

sema guide to racking

SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association, Have produced this short guide to racking inspection.

Calling managers (including warehouse), supervisors, operatives, team leaders and safety representatives in end-user businesses plus potential inspectors, storage distributors and suppliers; and safety professionals!

You know that storage racking should be properly maintained and in good order. Rack safety inspections are required to prevent and minimise the effects of accidents, to comply with the requirements of PUWER 1998 and to promote safety in the workplace.

To help you comply with the most up to date Health and Safety Legislation and best practice, SEMA regularly delivers specifically designed key courses and seminars. 

How to inspect rack systems

End users should work to the SEMA “onion skin approach to rack inspection”, consisting of three layers with three overlapping levels of inspection. They are known as; immediate (used to be called the daily) inspection, the regular (used to be called the weekly) inspection and the “expert” (annual) inspection which needs to be carried out by a SEMA Approved Inspector or a trained specialist. 

For immediate and regular inspections, the end user needs to appoint a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) who is suitably qualified and experienced. The PRRS will take responsibility for maintaining safe working practices, maintaining rack inspections and ensuring that recommended maintenance activities are carried out and recorded.

Rack Safety Awareness

SEMA recommends that in-house staff attend our Rack Safety Awareness course. This one-day course provides delegates with advice and guidance on the SEMA guidelines for rack inspections. It also offers more general advice on responsibilities of users and suppliers covering topics such as risk assessments, legal obligations, record keeping, damage levels and action points. A one-day Cantilever Rack Safety Awareness course is also available. 

How to maintain rack systems

The SEMA Rack Maintenance course is aimed at warehouse managers and supervisors, rack maintenance personnel, safety representatives, suppliers and safety professionals. This one-day course covers illustrated step by step guides with generic method statements for the safe repair of damaged racking components. This includes the key differences between maintenance versus repair explaining what is allowable and what is not permitted.


Whilst the SEMA Managing Rack Maintenance course is aimed at end users, SEMA is not advocating that end users undertake the maintenance tasks themselves. Such tasks need to be carried out by suitably qualified “teams” who have the knowledge and necessary skill-sets.

One of the key objectives of the course is to illustrate what these skill-sets, pre-qualifications and accreditations are, as applied to both individuals and the team as a whole. It is unlikely that the end user will have such a team ‘in-house’ (although not impossible), the maintenance operation being more likely to fall within the remit of a professional installation company (please see other sections of this publication).

The purpose of this part of the course is to provide the end user with an understanding of what they should be looking for in the maintenance team engaged by them to undertake the work.

Rack Inspection Training

The third layer of the ‘onion skin’ is the (annual) expert inspection which should be carried out by a technically trained and competent person i.e. SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI), trained specialist within an organisation or a specialist from the rack supplier. 

For ‘Expert’ inspection, the SEMA Approved Rack Inspection (SARI) course is the recognised training module. This is a professional qualification for personnel whose responsibilities include the regular inspection of storage equipment. The qualification consists of a three-day intensive training course followed by a written examination and a practical assessment. There is also a requirement for successful candidates to commit to on-going CPD (Continuous Professional Development).

Qualified inspectors who meet the on-going requirement are able to use the SEMA Approved Inspector logo on individual business cards and stationery to demonstrate their qualification.

You can contact SEMA at their website